Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tomorrow is my New Year--New Life!

Part two of my C&P of updates from my GoFundMe page to here. This was written the day before my surgery.
Well, tomorrow is the day. My new year. 

I'm ready. I'm surprisingly not anxious; it seems most of the anxiety was in the week prior and in particular the days before flying. Now, I'm ready to just go forward and get this done. This has been a long, lonnnnnnng road...I'm eager to be at a junction and on to whatever is next. 

I realized that with surgery tomorrow, I was not going to be permitted to eat or drink anything after midnight (turns out it's even worse--11pm! Boo!). Then I realized...if surgery is at 3pm, I'm going 16 hours without food or drink. And I'm certainly eating nothing after surgery--so I will be eating nothing tomorrow. Well! We must EAT! today! We went out for amazing New York bagels today. I had a multigrain with cream cheese, lox, and tomato. YUM. (And right now, I'm having cookies and milk in bed.) 

Also, knowing how dehydrated I'm going to feel, I have been guzzling 16oz bottles of water--I think I'm up to 5 or 6 now. I remember from my 100 degree summer horse showing days how important it is to hydrate not the day of the event, but the day before. I figure if I'm thoroughly hydrated today, it will make tomorrow less miserable. 

Presurgical testing was today. Oof. It was scheduled for 12pm. I didn't actually begin testing until 2:30pm. Now, remember how I was hydrating myself? Yeah, my bladder was reminding me. But, I figured someone was going to have me pee in a cup, so I held it. That got a wee bit uncomfortable. Then when the nurse brought me in, I mentioned wanting to get the cup and get it over with because I had to go, and she said, "Oh, we don't need that if you're not symptomatic for a UTI." :::facepalm::: Looking at my face, she added, "The bathroom is around the corner!" I bolted. 

Thankfully my presurgical tests done at home helped cut short the exam time--no need for the EKG or chest x-ray. Just some blood drawn as apparently, my pregnancy test is outdated. Yeah, THAT'S what I need right now. 

Anyway, there was very little in a way of testing and far, far more in the way of history and intake. All my conditions, medications, allergies, symptoms, pain severity, etc. It got awkward when she asks how much I can walk in a day, on average. Um...there is no average with me. There's today, there's yesterday, there's tomorrow, there's the next day. I also don't get short of breath or in pain; that's not what limits my walking. I get legs that turn to lead and calf muscles that feel like they fill with marbles. Thanks though to my Fitbit, I know I average about 7000-8000 steps on my not crappy days, so that's what I went with. Then she asked about my headaches. Would I describe them as sharp, dull, throbbing, piercing, pressure...? Umm...all of the above. It depends on the day. Today: mild and dull. Yesterday: pressure behind my ears and sharp pain coming out my eyes. When asked to describe how the pain typically radiates and I described how it starts at the base of my skull like a dull, intense squeeze then shoots through my eyes, she said something along the lines of, "How do you live like this?" Shrug. Today wasn't bad (although I sneezed in the middle of typing this and now my head is cranky--hopefully it calms down and doesn't move into angry), and yesterday, Tramadol helped bring the pain down a couple notches so I could still enjoy my husband's company. I live like this because it's the life I'm given. Not that I'm thrilled with it--I do aim to make a rather big change tomorrow. 

After testing, we swung by Dr. B's office to pick up a form. While we were there, I asked if we could maybe say hi and meet in person--everything we'd done so far was over Skype. Sure enough, they welcomed me to wait the twenty minutes or so for him to finish with his patient and then brought us in to an examining room to meet up with him. When he came in, he was very friendly, very funny, and very warm--there was no feeling like we were a pain in his behind for adding an additional stop to the end of his day. We expressed mutual pleasure for seeing each other in the flesh, and he joked and turned around to show me he did, in fact, have a back side. 

Then he went over the nitty-gritty of tomorrow. I'm to show up two hours earlier than the surgical time of 3pm, but it will be about 90 minutes from that point before they begin to cut. The surgery itself is about 4-5 hours, so, allowing for the prep time following check in, the earliest everything will be Done is 8:30-9:30pm EST (5:30-6:30pm PST). Now, Dr. B emphasized that surgery can run late if the preceding procedures in that OR run over--he joked he's not going to go in and kick everyone out--so it may be much later. I understood (especially considering my experience with presurgical testing). He then made an amusing comparison. You have to hear this with a thick Italian accent and picture it said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. "You know how they say the cows, when they are going to slaughter, if they are stressed they don't taste good? It is important that you do not stress because the tissues will not heal as well after." So, moo. 

He said that the immediately after surgery, he wants me to be moving my neck side to side, and the day after surgery, he wants me spending 45min in a chair and walking up and down the hallway. It is very important, he said, that I be up and moving so the muscles do not heal while seized and in spasm. Drugs, you will be my friend. 

Oh, speaking of, funny thing--the presurgical nurse repeatedly said I need to use my pain pump when the pain is mild. "Do not wait for it to get severe." This is incredibly novel to me--I have lived with mild pain for ages. I've pushed through it and dealt with it; mild pain is my good day. The idea of muting it at that point is new and I have been repeating her instructions to myself so it sticks in my memory. I understand how awful bad can be, so I'm happy to make mild silent as well. "If you're asleep, you're not in pain." Sounds good to me! 

I will be in ICU overnight then moved to the main floor by noon on Wednesday. Then I should be in the hospital another 3-4 nights. 

Brian will post updates on his and my Facebook pages and here as well tomorrow. I would ask that everyone please be patient and wait for him to post the update so he's not inundated with wonderful, loving, concerned requests. :) I should be able to at least post a thumbs-up 24 hours or so after surgery. 

So! I shall see you on the other side! Thank you for the many, many comments, notes, prayers, calls, texts, photos, everything. Y'all are the awesome, and I love you. Here's to my new year and new life! 

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